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The Master's Men Part 1: Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, and John

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
July 22, 2022 4:00 am

The Master's Men Part 1: Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, and John

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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July 22, 2022 4:00 am

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You see, Andrew is the picture of all those who labor quietly in humble places. Not with eye service as men pleasers, but as servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. Andrew is not the pillar like Peter, James, and John.

He is a humbler stone. Pastor and author Kent Hughes has said, Christ doesn't pitch his tent with the especially famous and powerful, those who command large crowds as they jet from city to city and enjoy the spotlight of center stage. Christ pitches his tent with the weak and the unknown, the suffering shut in, the anonymous pastor and missionary. The godly, quiet servants in the home and in the marketplace. Jesus' twelve disciples certainly could affirm those words. He loved those men and used them to build his kingdom, and yet each one of them had serious flaws. And as John MacArthur will show you today on Grace to You, God can use you too, no matter how ordinary you think you are.

Stay here now as John continues his study, The Master's Men. Let's turn to Matthew chapter 10. Now we've been focusing then, as we have begun to look at chapter 10, on the training of the Twelve.

The Lord's methods, techniques, principles, as He calls, trains, develops, sends out His Apostles. This in chapter 10 is really their first sending. Their final and official sending comes after the resurrection and the ascension. This is a preliminary sending, which basically is an internship for them. They go out, but not very far, and not alone, but rather two by two. They go out a little while and they come back to Him and they learn in the process of field experience, later to be sent individually after He has already gone.

And they ask the right questions when they come back and their training becomes more intense in the months that follow this, their internship. Now as we look at the sending out that occurs in chapter 10, and as we see if we can't develop the principles of discipleship, which our Lord gives us, we first of all are introduced to the individuals involved. And if you look at verses 2 through 4, you find the names of the Twelve Apostles. Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebeas who was also known as Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. Verse 5 says, these twelve Jesus sent forth. Verse 6 says He told them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Verse 7 says that as you go, preach the kingdom. So these were the workers, the associates, the ambassadors of the king himself. Their leader was Peter. That is why it says in verse 2, the first Simon who is called Peter. He is not the first one called. The first one called was John and associated with him, Andrew, in that initial encounter in John 1. Peter was not the first one called.

He is first in this sense. It is the same word used in this statement by Paul. I am the chief of sinners. It means the foremost one, the primary one, the chief one. Peter was the leader.

He was the out front, up front man. And so last time we studied Peter and his leadership ability and how the Lord refined and developed Peter into a leader that was useful. Remember I told you there are always three groups in every list of the apostles.

There are four lists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts. And always in all four lists, there are the same three groups with the same four names in each group. And so we're looking at group one, and it is the most intimate group. Group two is the next most intimate, and group three is the least intimate of the twelve. The Lord Himself could not get close to even twelve men, but He could get close to four, and out of the four particularly three. And so we're looking at this most intimate group. All came from the same town, all had the same profession, and all were in the first group called to Christ. And we ask ourselves this question, and I want you to keep asking it as we look at these three names. What kind of people can God use?

That's the issue. What kind of people can God use in His ministry? What kind of people can change the world? What kind of people can preach the gospel of the kingdom so that souls are saved? What kind of people does God ordain for His purposes? Now usually when we think about Peter, Andrew, James and John, we have that view of stained glass saints.

People who are on a completely different plane than we are. We name cities after them, St. Peter's, or St. Petersburg, or St. Andrews, which is a city in Scotland, or St. James, which is a common name for cities. And do you know there are more people in the United States named John than any other name? It's a wonderful name. And Peter and James and Andrew, we name people after those names with great respect because these are respected individuals.

Cathedrals are named after these individuals. And we think of these particular four as something other than ourselves, in a different dimension of time and space. In another world, they have an aura about them.

Frankly, that's really not the way it ought to be. They are very common men with a very uncommon calling. But they're very much like we are. And they demonstrate to us the kind of people God uses.

See if you find yourself among them. Last time we learned that God uses people like Simon. Impulsive, dynamic, impetuous, strong, initiators, bold, who very often talk a better game than they play. The dynamic kind.

Oh, He uses those kinds. But let's meet the second in the list. Andrew, his brother. Andrew, Peter's brother.

By the way, his name means manly. He too was a native of Bethsaida, that little village in Galilee, and he, like his brother, was a fisherman. In fact, in Matthew 4, he was down at the sea when Jesus came along. He had already met Jesus. He had already believed in Jesus.

He had already affirmed Him as the Messiah, but after going back to His fishing, now the Lord appears again to him at the shore and calls him permanently to follow, and He will make him a fisher of men. Prior to coming to follow Jesus Christ, He had been a pious Jew. He had been a godly Jew.

He had been a God-fearing Jew. He had also been a disciple of John the Baptist. In fact, it was one day at the message of John the Baptist that his life was changed. For John the Baptist saw Jesus in John 1 and said, Behold the Lamb of God. And Andrew was there that day along with John, who was also a fisherman and surely an acquaintance as well as was James. And he and John heard John the Baptist say that, and they followed after Jesus immediately, and Jesus turned and said to them, What seek ye?

And they replied, Where do you dwell? And they went where Jesus dwelled, and they spent the entire day with Him, and those hours were the crisis in their spiritual history. And when they came out of that day spent with the Lamb of God, immediately it says that Andrew opened his mouth and said these first words, We have found the Messiah. No sooner did Andrew discover the reality of Jesus Christ for himself than that he announced to his brother Peter that very phrase, We have found the Messiah. Peter and Andrew lived together, it says in Mark 1 29.

And no doubt they shared everything. And especially did Andrew want to share with him the Messiah. And so from this very beginning, he becomes a part of that intimate four. In fact, if you study through the New Testament, it's James and Peter and John and Peter, James and John and John and Peter and James. They're always the inner circle, and nobody is ever let into that inner circle except when Andrew gets in, and it's Peter, James, John and Andrew.

He was in the most intimate four, but he never quite cracked that inside three. But he was greatly respected. In fact, Philip, who was in group two, a little less intimate with the Lord, one time had some Greeks come to him and say, We want to see Jesus. And you know where Philip took them? He took them to Andrew.

Why? Because I guess Philip thought that if you want to get to Jesus, all you got to do is get to Andrew. Andrew was intimate with Jesus, and Andrew was respected.

And even yet, he still isn't in the inner three. But all of a sudden in the fourth gospel, the gospel of John, Andrew begins to emerge from the background. And we see Andrew three times in the gospel of John. And all three times, Andrew is doing the same thing.

It's easy to characterize it. The first time is in John chapter 1, verse 40, which I just reported to you. It says in John 1, 40, one of the two who heard John the Baptist speak, and that would be John and Andrew, followed him. And he was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. And by the way, Andrew is always called Simon Peter's brother, with I think one or two exceptions.

Maybe just one. That's always how he's identified. And he first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah which is being interpreted to Christ, the anointed one, and he brought him to Jesus. Now if you want to know how to characterize the life of Andrew, it's very simple. He is the one who was always bringing people to Jesus.

The second time we see him is in the sixth chapter of John, and the eighth and ninth verse. A vast multitude of people are gathered. Jesus is teaching.

It's late in the day. The crowd is hungry. There's not enough food, and Andrew brings to Jesus this time a little boy. And the little boy has five loaves and two fish. It doesn't mean five big loaves of bread.

It means five little flat barley crackers and two fish, and they would take those fish and they would pickle them, and they would eat them with the crackers. So he brought a little fellow with five barley crackers and two pickled fish. He brought him to Jesus. I guess Andrew must have thought that the Lord could make a whole lot out of a very little. The third time we meet him is in John 12, and I've already alluded to that incident. And in John chapter 12 and verse 20, Philip is approached by the Greeks or the Gentiles, and they want to see Jesus. And Philip tells Andrew, and together they went to Jesus, the assumption being that they took the folks there too. So whenever you see Andrew, he's involved in finding Jesus so that Jesus can meet someone, bringing people to Jesus. I guess maybe he didn't think there was anybody that Jesus didn't want to see, or there was anything Jesus couldn't respond to, or there was any problem Jesus couldn't solve, because he's characterized as the one who brought men to Christ.

Now in these three incidents, if I can just sort of draw some pictures for you, in these three incidents, several things become clear. First of all, we see Andrew's openness. He knew that they were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He knew that primarily it was the Jew first and then to the Gentile. And yet he also got the Spirit of our Lord, because the Lord originally had revealed his Messiahship to a half-breed Samaritan woman. So Andrew was never choked by a hyper-Judaism. I mean, he didn't have any problem at all with bringing some Gentiles to Jesus. We sense a little of the openness of his heart.

There just wasn't anybody outside. There wasn't anybody that he didn't think Jesus would not want to see. We also see his faith. He had a simple faith. I don't know what he was thinking when he brought those five crackers and two fish.

It was such a huge crowd. I don't know what he was trying to do, running around looking for whoever had a lunch. But he must have had some kind of faith to believe that the Lord could do something with that. After all, he had seen Jesus make wine.

Why couldn't he make food? A third thing we see is not only his openness and his faith, but we see his humility. I mean, he spent his whole life being known as Simon Peter's brother.

You can believe it. And now when he found the Messiah, there might have been a temptation to say, boy, now I'm not telling Peter. This is my chance to be somebody. But no, no, he runs to get Peter, knowing full well that as soon as Peter enters the group, he will run the group, because that's Peter. And Andrew will be right back where he's always been as Simon Peter's brother. But he thought more of the work to be done than who was in charge. He thought more of the cause of the eternal virtue of the kingdom than he did of his personal and petty problems.

Sad to say, but there are some people who won't play in the band unless they can beat the big drum. James and John had that problem, didn't they? But not Andrew. I don't find Andrew fighting about who's going to get the glory in the kingdom. You see, Andrew is the picture of all those who labor quietly in humble places.

Not with eye service as men pleasers, but as servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. Andrew is not the pillar like Peter, James and John. He is a humbler stone. He could have anticipated the sentiment of the poet Christina Rossetti who wrote, "'Give me the lowest place, not that I dare ask for that lowest place, but thou hast died that I might live and share thy glory by thy side.

Give me the lowest place, or if for me the lowest place is too high, then make one more low where I may sit and see my God and love Him so.'" That's Andrew. I mean, after all, he was one of the original two called, and yet he wasn't in the inner three, but it didn't seem to bother him.

He was always Peter's brother. He was one of those rare people who was willing to take second place, one of those rare people who wants to be in support, one of those rare people who doesn't mind being hidden as long as the work is done. He is the kind of man that all leaders depend on. He's the kind of person that everyone knows is the backbone of every ministry. The cause of Christ is dependent, beloved, on self-forgetting souls who are content to occupy a small sphere and an obscure place, free from self-seeking ambition, and yet he will sit on the throne judging the tribes of Israel. Daniel MacLean, a Scotsman who has a special affection for Andrew, who has become the patron saint of Scotland, writes about his beloved apostle, these words, gathering together the traces of character found in Scripture about Andrew, we find neither the writer of an epistle, nor the founder of a church, nor a leading figure in the apostolic age, but simply an intimate disciple of Jesus Christ, ever anxious that others should know the spring of spiritual joy and share the blessing he so highly prized, a man of very moderate endowment who scarcely redeemed his early promise, simple-minded and sympathetic without either dramatic power or heroic spirit. Yet he had that clinging confidence in Christ that brought him into that inner circle of the Twelve, a man of deep religious feeling with little power of expression.

He was more magnetic than he was electric, better suited for the quiet walks of life than the stirring thoroughfares. Yes, Andrew is the apostle of the private life. God uses people like that and only God can calculate their value because sometimes it takes an Andrew to reach a Peter. God needs Andrews, people who quietly, obscurely bring others to Jesus. There's a third name in the first group, James, the son of Zebedee. In two lists out of the four lists of the Twelve, he is next to Peter, yet we know very little about him. In fact, note this, he never appears alive in the Gospels apart from John, his brother, in any incident. They're inseparable in the Gospels. Now I believe that it's important to note that he's always mentioned before John.

And it probably not only indicates that he was older but that he was the leader of this rather dynamic duo. He is the strength. He is the zeal.

He is the passion. Now these brothers, James and John, were also fishermen and their father was Zebedee and Zebedee was a fairly well-to-do man because he employed hired servants in his business. So they had a pretty good fishing business going up there on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. And James fits into this first group because he was in the early calling. John and Andrew were the first two and certainly James would be so close to John that he worked his way into that intimacy. Now as you look at the Bible in terms of incidents, James appears more as a silhouette than a photograph and so you have to kind of get an imagery just without all of the fullness of what might have happened. But I think the best way to look at James is to consider what the Lord named him and his brother John.

In Mark 3, 17, Jesus gave them a name. He called them Boanerges which means sons of thunder, sons of thunder. If James is the leader, and that is indicated by the fact that he appears first, then he was a son of thunder. Now he must have been a passionate, zealous, fervent, wild-eyed, ambitious, aggressive guy. To give you a classic reason why, in Acts, Herod decided to vex the church and the first guy he went after was James and he chopped off his head and they took Peter and put him in jail, which indicates that Peter was not as big a problem as James.

I mean, when you capture James and Peter and kill James and let Peter live, that says something about the kind of man James must have been. Strong man, zealous man. He was perhaps the New Testament counterpart of Jehu who said, Come, see my zeal for the Lord and then uprooted the house of Ahab and swept all the Baal worshipers out of the land. This guy made enemies fast. Fourteen years he was dead. I mean, he was the first disciple to be martyred. They got rid of him quick.

He was a real problem. Thunderous individual. And he must have had his zeal fed daily by the one who said, The zeal of thine house has eaten me up. I mean, I can just see him when the Lord takes out a whip, you know. Do it, Lord, do it.

Give it to him. Just zealous, you know. Zeal is a great virtue. You love someone who's aggressive and who's charged up and who wants to get the job done, but very often coming along with zeal comes a lack of wisdom.

And sometimes you're shooting off your mouth and guns are blazing before you've really thought the thing through. You say, can God use somebody like that? Well, yes He did, as a matter of fact.

Several incidents stand out and I'll show you where James is mentioned and the way he acts. Luke 9, Luke 9, verse 51. It came to pass when the time was come that Jesus should be received up.

It's time to move toward the Passion Week. He set His face to go to Jerusalem. He sent messengers before His face. The messengers are going now into Samaria to prepare the way and they entered into a village of Samaria to make ready for them. They wanted the Samaritans to hear the message. Christ was coming, the Messiah was coming. And they didn't receive Him because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.

Listen, Samaritans just hated the Jews and Jerusalem. They had their own place of worship, Mount Gerizim. They probably chased these messengers out with curses and stones. They probably threw stones at them.

And so the messengers come back and say, they're not going to receive you in such and such a village. And then verse 54, we meet the sons of thunder. And when His disciples, James and John, saw that, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did? Lord, let's just burn them up.

Burn them up. Great missionary heart. Just get all the unsaved and consume them, Lord, just like Elijah did.

You see, you can identify with who James' heroes were. And so Jesus turned and rebuked them and said, you don't know what manner of spirit you have. This is not the spirit for now. Elijah's spirit does not apply now. This is not a time for judgment on an ungodly, heretical nation. This is time for the proclamation of a new covenant. You're out of sync, guys.

I mean, your basic character is leaking through. Burn them up. That isn't the idea. For the Son of Man isn't come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. So they just went to another village. Jesus rebuked them strongly. They were hateful.

They were intolerant. James had so much zeal and so little sensitivity. I mean, what kind of an evangelist would he make?

And yet I have to admit there's a touch of nobility in it. I'm glad that he got mad when the Lord was dishonored. I would hate to have seen him pass without a reaction at all. He was zealous. He was explosive. He was fervent. He was passionate.

I mean, he didn't just sit and watch it happen. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John's current series looks at Christ's closest followers, his 12 disciples.

It's titled The Master's Men. Now, John, I can imagine a lot of believers feeling a bit jealous of Andrew and James and the other disciples, because after all, they enjoyed ongoing face-to-face interaction with Jesus. The second they had a spiritual question, they could just ask him.

Now, of course, we can't do that today. So for Christians in 2022, if they really need an answer, where should they turn? When the disciples didn't understand something, they had to ask Jesus to explain it to them.

And admittedly, that would be the most perfect setting you could ever hope for, right? You don't quite understand what he said or what he meant by what he said, so you ask him and he explains it. The need to understand is still around. And when people read their Bible, for the most part, they struggle with how do I understand this?

Where do I go for an explanation of this? It's as if they were like the disciples and Jesus was saying these things, but we didn't understand what they meant. So through the centuries, really, there developed a study Bible, which would be the text of the Bible, and then at the bottom of every page, there would be notes explaining the text. It's kind of like Philip explained the Isaiah 53 passage to the Ethiopian eunuch, and the eunuch said, how can I understand if somebody doesn't guide me?

So Philip guided him. And so it's wonderfully helpful to have a guide, and we've done that with the MacArthur Study Bible. It takes the Bible and it adds 25,000 footnotes from my study of Scripture through the years, right on the page below the text itself.

These notes explain all the pertinent information, background, culture, geography, language, cross-references. They deal with the hard-to-understand passages and give you good, solid, sound answers. They explain context, which has a lot to do with getting to the right interpretation. Really, when you read the Bible, you want to understand what you read, and that's what the study Bible notes are designed to do. Now, I've been teaching for decades now from the New American Standard Bible. We have the MacArthur Study Bible in that translation, also available in the New King James Version and the English Standard Version. There are hard-bound editions, leather editions, something for everybody, every budget. You can order a MacArthur Study Bible from Grace to You today.

That's right, friend. The MacArthur Study Bible is an ideal gift for any student of Scripture, from pastors to new believers. To maximize your time in God's Word, order a copy of the MacArthur Study Bible today. You can call our toll-free number, 800-55-GRACE, or go to our website, With detailed introductions to each book and dozens of maps and charts and the 25,000 footnotes, the MacArthur Study Bible has all the tools you'll need to understand Scripture and grow spiritually.

Again, to order, call 800-55-GRACE, or view all of the choices at our website, And when you visit the website,, take advantage of all the free Bible study tools developed with you in mind. You can listen to or download nearly 3,500 of John's sermons, all free of charge. You can read four daily devotionals written by John or download our free Study Bible app. That's all available at That's our website. Again, one more time, Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace to You staff, I'm Phil Johnson, reminding you to watch Grace to You television this Sunday. Go to our website to find out when it airs in your area. And then be here Monday when John shows you how to walk in love and truth. You'll be looking at the apostle who did that the best, the apostle John, when another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time comes your way on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 21:49:06 / 2023-03-20 21:59:53 / 11

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